People of Steel

By EW Staff
Updated June 17, 2005 at 04:00 AM EDT
Routh & Bosworth Photograph by James White

Must List 2005: Brandon Routh & Kate Bosworth

Ages 25, 22

Mustworthiness Here in the golden age of the superhero flick, there has been no shortage of princes. Spider-Man. Batman. The X-Men. Yet all are mere pretenders to a long-vacant throne. On June 30, 2006, Warner Bros. gives us the return of the king — otherwise known as Superman Returns. EW was the first publication on the set in Sydney. We’ve met the Man of Steel. We’ve seen him fly. And while it’s too early to tell whether the film truly soars, there is little doubt that Brandon Routh is worthy of the royal red cape.

Star Trek Namely, is Routh (pronounced like mouth) prepared for his life to change forever? ”I have no idea. But I am prepared to be prepared,” laughs the actor, relaxing in the grassy plaza outside the Daily Planet set after a long afternoon of being hoisted up and down in his Superman suit. Routh, from tiny Norwalk, Iowa (pop. 6,000), is affable, reflective, and confident, despite his relative inexperience (big résumé line: He did a year on One Life to Live). ”I was always dead set on casting an unknown,” says director Bryan Singer (The Usual Suspects, X-Men). ”Brandon embodied the character the best — his acting talent, physical presence, and personality.”

Life in the Fast Lane ”I’m ready for this,” says Kate Bosworth, making the leap to leading lady after notable turns in Blue Crush and Win a Date With Tad Hamilton. ”I’m just glad my ‘breakout’ wasn’t a gigantic film. I feel solid in myself now.” Singer cast Bosworth after watching her performance as Sandra Dee in Beyond the Sea, the Bobby Darin biopic directed by the new Lex Luthor, Kevin Spacey. ”I saw it twice and fell for her,” says Singer. To test his potential stars, the director used one of the film’s most emotionally charged scenes, in which Superman and Lois reunite atop the Daily Planet after five years apart. ”The chemistry was palpable.”

Steeling the Deal Singer and Routh met for the first time at a Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf on Sunset Boulevard in L.A. the morning the director left for Australia to begin preproduction. ”I knew I would know within 30 seconds if it was a no-go,” says Singer, who found the tall, athletically built Routh sitting at a table. ”He stood up — and up, and up, and up. I said, ‘Okay…”’ Drinks were ordered. An awkward moment fumbling for napkins suggested Routh could do goofy-bumbly Clark Kent comedy. Though it would take months to make Routh official, Singer left for Sydney knowing ”I had my Superman. And I think he knew it too.”